Mayor Nick Sacco is coordinating relief and relocation efforts for victims of the massive fire on Kennedy Boulevard and 92nd Street that broke out Saturday night. The Mayor has been working closely with the North Bergen Health Department, North Hudson Community Action Corporation, Red Cross and several local community groups and volunteers to organize a food and clothing drives, provide short term housing for displaced residents and help victims find options for relocation.
“Whenever a tragedy strikes North Bergen the swift and effective response by our community never ceases to amaze me,” said Mayor Sacco, who stayed with fire victims at a shelter set up at North Bergen High School until nearly 4:00 a.m. Sunday while the blaze was being fought. “We are now working to help these victims in the short term by providing food, clothing and shelter and to help them sort through options for long term relocation in the wake of this tragedy. Our hope is that we will help as many of them as possible find housing as soon as we can.”
The township and the Red Cross have paid for about 30 hotel rooms for displaced residents since Saturday, and North Hudson Community Action Corporation will pick up the next five nights starting tomorrow. North Bergen Volunteer Relief Coordinator Aimee Focaraccio is managing a food and clothing drive to aid victims at Our Lady of Fatima Church. Anyone who wishes to help can drop off non-perishable food, clothing or toiletries to the church, which is located at 8011 Kennedy Boulevard in North Bergen. The North Bergen Board of Education will conduct its own clothing drive and will also ask students to participate in a dress down day fundraiser to aid victims. The Board of Education is also providing two free school uniform replacements for any student whose uniforms were destroyed. A relief fund has also been established to help victims through the North Bergen Health Department and anyone interested in making a donation can contact the department at 201-392-2084.
The township is also committed to helping the building’s residents with long term relocation. Mayor Sacco is working with North Hudson Community Action, the North Bergen Housing Authority and local realtors to identify available housing units in the area and direct displaced families to them.
The cause of the fire is still being determined and North Bergen fire inspectors were at the scene today assessing the building. The township has issued a formal letter to the building’s owner declaring its intention to condemn the property because of the extensive damage that it sustained. The owner has the right to appeal the decision if a structural engineer determines that it is sound. More information about the cause of the fire and the future of the property is expected to become available later this week.